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March 9th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Mormons crack down on proxy baptisms; whistleblower’s access blocked

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - In response to recent media reports that well-known Jewish Holocaust victims and slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl were baptized by proxy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is renewing and revamping efforts to crack down on the practice and, some believe, stop the attention.

The church said this week it had implemented a “new technological barrier” to prevent abuse of its massive genealogical database, parts of which have been used to carry out – as well as expose - proxy baptisms.

"The church is committed to preventing the misguided practice of submitting the names of Holocaust victims and prominent individuals for proxy baptism,” spokesman Michael Purdy said in a written statement.

“Anyone trying to access names that have been restricted will have their account suspended and be required to contact [the church] to establish their family relationship in order to have their access reinstated. Abuse of the system will result in the permanent loss of database access."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Whistle-blowing ex-Mormon researcher Helen Radkey, who uncovered the proxy baptism records that made headlines recently, says an account she was surreptitiously using to gain access to the database has been blocked.

“I have been effectively stopped,” Radkey told The Salt Lake Tribune. She said the church was “of course” targeting her.

The church, though, says Radkey’s blocked account was part of its effort to stop inappropriate proxy baptisms and not about Radkey.

“It is ironic for someone to claim they are being targeted by the measures we have taken to prevent unauthorized submissions for baptism,” Purdy said. “We are doing exactly what we have been asked to do and what we said we would do - denying access to names that should not be submitted because they are against our policy.”

Purdy said no one by the name of Helen Radkey has an account with the church’s database, known as New FamilySearch.

“If she, or anyone else, is misusing a church member’s identity to search for Holocaust names, then the system is set up to block those kinds of activities. There have been a handful of accounts blocked so far.

“We have said before that no system is foolproof but that we were committed to improving our ability to prevent unauthorized names from being submitted for baptism,” he continued. “To complain about us doing just that is baseless."

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

Word of the new measures and blocked accounts comes on the heels of a statement from top church officials that was read to congregations across the globe last weekend clarifying what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to proxy baptisms.

The statement said Mormons’ “pre-eminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.”

“Without exception, church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances [rituals] any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims,” the statement read. It warned that members who violate the rules could lose access to the system and added, “other corrective action may also be taken.”

Efforts to deal with proxy baptisms are nothing new. Instructions on how to use and contribute to the database grew out of a 1995 agreement with Jewish groups that were horrified to find that people who died because of their faith were being baptized by proxy in Mormon ceremonies.

After the recent flood of stories, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel appeared on CNN and called on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reprimand his church.

Romney, meantime, has been asked if he has ever partaken in proxy baptisms. He says that he has, but so have most Mormons who are eligible to participate in temple ordinances. Also referred to as temple work, ordinances are the sacred ceremonies performed within LDS temples for the living and the dead.

Explain it to me: Mormonism

Proxy baptisms are part of that work, and Romney's participation was likely decades ago. The baptisms are generally completed by younger Latter-day Saints, between the ages of 12 and 20, with males and females being vicariously submerged for deceased persons of the same gender, explains senior religion writer Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“A white-clothed young man or woman, standing in a font of water about waist-high, represents the dead person,” she writes. “He or she is then immersed after the adult male baptizer (also wearing white) says these words: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and in behalf of [name of the deceased] in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Mormons, usually ages 12 to 20, are baptized for the dead in LDS temples.

To be sure, for the Jewish people, who have experienced their fair share of forced conversions over the centuries (think the Spanish Inquisition), the suggestion that victims like Holocaust victim Anne Frank or Pearl might be baptized after death can be horribly offensive.

Others might view the practice of proxy baptism as simply strange or utterly meaningless. If you don't subscribe to the Mormon belief system, some might say, why does the practice matter to you?

Still others view the practice as nothing short of laughable and have made a mockery of what Latter-day Saints view as sacrosanct. The website “All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay” lets users enter the name of a dead Mormon and click the "Convert!" button to make them gay. Comedian Stephen Colbert responded on his show by slicing off the tips of hot dogs, thereby proxy-circumcising dead Mormons to make them Jewish.

A special invitation, attendance optional

This isn’t a laughing matter to Mormons, not least of all church officials, who say they wish 100% of its members would abide by their instructions. Putting a definitive stop to inappropriate proxy baptisms, however, is complicated, if not impossible.

“With more than 14 million members around the globe, the church is no more able to guarantee compliance of every member with its policies than other worldwide faiths are able to guarantee theirs,” Michael Otterson, who heads up LDS Church public affairs, wrote in a piece for the Washington Post.

The practice of performing proxy baptisms isn't one that's going away.

Believing as Jesus taught that baptism is essential to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5), Mormons believe they are extending a loving invitation to those who died without having the opportunity for this rite. They point to 1 Cornthians 15:29, in which Paul spoke of baptizing the dead, a message LDS Church founder Joseph Smith took to heart.

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In doing proxy baptisms, Mormons do not claim to make anyone Mormon. They believe spirits in the afterlife are being exposed to the gospel, and a proxy baptism provides an opportunity to the dead to either accept or turn down the invitation to believe and find salvation.

Central to LDS Church teachings is the belief that families across generations can be united for eternity. Performing proxy baptisms for the dead is what makes eternal togetherness in heaven possible. Family history research for Mormons, as a result, is of sacred importance.

Members have been in the business of family research since the 1840s, writes Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune. So it’s no coincidence, then, that the LDS Church boasts the most comprehensive genealogical records available.

The church has compiled more than 2.64 billion searchable names in its online historic records collection, and more than 250 million names are added to the database each year, LDS Church officials say. Every year, FamilySearch produces more than 160 million digital images from source documents.

The database is accessible to the public online or at more than 4,850 LDS Church family history centers and libraries in 126 countries.

LDS Church members are given special accounts that allow them, in a separate process, to submit names for temple rites by proxy, as well as see other names that have been submitted and baptized. Such details are off-limits in the public version of the database.

“Our doctrine is for members of the church to submit names of their own relatives for temple work,” church spokesman Purdy wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Over the years the church has provided eligible names to take to the temple [for ordinances], but it is the primary responsibility of members to submit family names.”

In baptismal fonts in the 136 LDS Church temples that span the globe, temple ordinances for the dead take place every day but Sunday. So an overzealous or troublemaking Mormon in Sydney, Australia, for instance, might ignore instructions and enter a slew of names of people he’s not related to into the system. And then, sometime later at the temple in, say, Accra, Ghana, the people on that list might get baptized by proxy.

Because officials back at LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, can’t monitor what each member does, whether with good intentions or not, names slip through – names like Daniel Pearl, Mickey Mouse and Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother.

Understanding 'the messenger’

Often at the center of breaking proxy baptism stories is Helen Radkey. Touted as a whistleblower, the 69-year-old researcher has shamed the LDS Church time and again for objectionable or embarrassing baptisms.

An ex-Mormon who was excommunicated from the church, she is often seen by some observers as an obsessive agitator. Others praise her for her dogged commitment.

Radkey says she was active in the church for less than five years in the 1970s. In a 2009 profile in The Salt Lake Tribune, it was reported that this “Catholic-turned-Mormon-turned-New-Ager” left her first husband and children to join the church because she wanted in so badly.

A grown son from a later marriage was quoted as saying, “She was on a crusade … to single-handedly take down the Mormon religion. She was so consumed by that, we had a hard time relating to it.”

But the Australian-born Radkey, who lives in Salt Lake City, points out that it’s often others who come to her looking for names, because she has found ways to get access to records and knows how to navigate the system. She suggests journalists, hungry for anything Mormon-related during this election season, have brought her down.

She says someone from a British newspaper asked her to look up Princess Diana, who was baptized in 1999. A wire service reporter called, she adds, wanting to check to see if there’d been a proxy baptism for Gandhi; there had in 1996. And it was a reporter from The Boston Globe, at the prodding of his editor who had once worked with Pearl, who reached out seeking info on his status, the results of which created the latest hubbub.

Helen Radkey is often at the center of proxy baptism stories.

Though Radkey says the church blocked the account she most recently had been using, she hints that she has other accounts available, though she won't divulge details or confirm anything. She also says, “I’m not looking up any more names.” This, however, is a claim she's made before, as she did in the 2009 Salt Lake Tribune profile.

Over the years, she says she’s heard people accuse her of trying to get rich off her efforts. “I don’t make a living,” she says. “I have to do other work, and I get Social Security.”

At one point, about 10 years ago, the head of a Holocaust survivors group paid for her time to accumulate a list of 1,000 Holocaust victims who had been baptized, after the LDS Church claimed the Jewish community was “overreacting to the problem,” says Gary Mokotoff, a Jewish genealogist in New Jersey who has been following the issue for 22 years, long before it made headlines.

Besides being compensated by the same group for her time and expenses in appearing at a news conference in New York a few years ago, “that is the only time [she] received compensation for her effort,” Mokotoff wrote in an e-mail. “Helen puts in hundreds of hours per year on the matter without compensation (and she complains to me about it).”

Others, Radkey says, have speculated that she’s entered the names of those she later finds in LDS records, a charge she denies, calling it “out of date and out of line.”

“The inference that I enter names into the Mormon system, which I never have, usually comes from a Utah mindset that would ‘kill the messenger’ rather than deal with the results of my work,” she wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “Not only have I never done this, I should not have to explain away this false charge because there is not one shred of evidence that I have ever done such a thing.”

The upside for others, including Jews

For Mokotoff, a professional genealogist, there’s an irony to this issue that isn’t lost on him.

The past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and co-owner of Avotaynu, which publishes resources for Jewish genealogists, Mokotoff is beyond grateful to the LDS Church. He leads trips to Salt Lake City, ground zero for family research. He has benefited directly from the care Mormons take in gathering, preserving and sharing records.

“They have 2.5 million microfilm rolls that represent billions of names,” he says. “I traced back my ancestry to 1727 in Poland because they had made copies of birth, marriage and death records in Warka, Poland, the ancestral town of the Mokotoff family.”

But even so, he remains firm in his belief that the LDS Church must stop baptizing Holocaust victims, and preferably deceased Jews in general, by proxy.

Granted, he respects the caveat that the church has always maintained, that if a Mormon is descended from Jews or Holocaust victims, those names are fair game.

Mokotoff says he recently got an e-mail from someone who was concerned that a niece was marrying a Mormon, would likely convert and would then potentially baptize others in the family.

“She has that right,” Mokotoff answered. “It’s her religion.”

But just as she has that right, the Jewish community has a right to remain concerned about what's happening in a Mormon-only system it can't access.

Blocking a whistleblower like Radkey may slow the ability to keep tabs on proxy baptisms, but it's not insurmountable, Mokotoff says.

“The Mormon church thinks they have found a way to end the controversy between the church and the Jewish community: stop Helen Radkey,” Mokotoff wrote late Thursday in an e-mail. “Ten years ago, their religious database, then called the International Genealogical Index, was accessible to the public. Now it is a secret database that can be used only by password. Helen Radkey has found ways of getting around the church's barriers in the past. She is a resourceful woman. I am sure she will find ways in the future.”

‘It’ll never be perfect’

There are outsiders who wish the LDS Church would just stop the proxy baptisms altogether. But that’s both unrealistic and disrespectful, says Rabbi Gary Greenebaum of Los Angeles.

Greenebaum is intimately involved in the issue as a liaison between the LDS Church and the Jewish community.

“I can work with [the church], and I can suggest strongly what kind of actions they can take,” he says. “But when it comes to their own theology, I don’t have much of a place to tell them what they should believe.”

What the former American Jewish Committee director of interreligious and intergroup affairs can do is take his cues from Holocaust survivors.

“The issue is their relatives lived as Jews and were murdered because they were Jews,” he says. “The whole Jewish sense of never forgetting means remembering who died and why they died.”

To that end, he has worked with LDS Church insiders to alleviate concerns.

He also has seen up close the frustration within the church. He feels for the officials. He applauds them for the statement they issued to members on Sunday and the reminders of guidelines that appear on FamilySearch. He sees how they have made tweaks to the system, established safeguards and how entries are flagged for review, for example, if deaths were during World War II and in places bearing names of Nazi death camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka.

He has observed the new hires, the additional hours and money spent. With several million submissions of names in FamilySearch each month, he says he persuaded the church to do computer runs more frequently to help prevent inappropriate proxy baptism requests from seeping through. When violations appear, someone phones the submitter for a discussion.

When the church first worked out an agreement on the proxy baptism of Holocaust victims back in 1995, there were 8.5 million LDS Church members, Greenebaum says. Now that number is 14 million, and between Internet access and computer advances, the system is enormous and not easy to control.

As a result and despite the hard work, mistakes are bound to happen.

“It’s moving closer to being figured out,” Greenebaum says. “But it’ll never be perfect because it’s just too vast. And it’s important to appreciate the problem they’re dealing with.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Holocaust • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Utah

soundoff (1,493 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Seriously Mormon haters, try de-caf. Many of these comments are like Helen Radkey's description, "[They are] on a crusade … to single-handedly take down the Mormon religion. [They are] so consumed by that, we had a hard time relating to them."

    March 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • barbraS

      The persecutor (LDS) has become the persecuted. A typical cult defensive response.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Dr.Fritz

      The Mormons, the Moonies, and the Scientologists, all use the same playbook. Simply tell the truth about them, and they label you a "bigot" or a "hater." What B.S. It won't work. CULTISM is a bad thing, and most people will not fall for your manipulation.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bill

      I rest my case.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Tano

      @Dr Fritz, The LDS Church is not a cult and this is not a practice established by Joseph Smith, it is a sacred ordinance performed thousands of years ago, as you can read/listen in the Bible itself. We, Christians, believe in the Bible, and do believe that it is the Word of God, we believe in its precepts and ordinances, thus we follow the admonition of Christ, as simple as that.
      Read it: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15:28-30&version=NIV this is NOT a new practice established by the LDS Church of today, it's a practice that has been in place for the benefit of mankind, and families in particular, for many years. I know, you don't believe in it, but I just want to point out that this IS NOT new LDS doctrine, that's all.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Psst,

      Psst, Bill, then it ain't a singlehanded effort. Got that?

      March 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Dakota2000

    If any of the infinite number of mormon gods exist, I challenge ONE of them to setup a website and start blogging.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Dr.Fritz

      Hush! You're not supposed to mention that. Do you want to be called a "bigot" by a Mormon PR person?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • mper

      When I'm dead they are more then welcome to proxy baptise me. I feel I might as well ingratiate myself to as many versions of the supreme being as possible on the off chance that one of them actually exists.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Wyoming

      He did. It's called scripture.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Know What

      Wyoming,

      All religions have "scripture"... even North Korea's Kim wrote "scripture".

      March 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Psst,

      Wyoming, nope, fail on that one. Show us the blog on the internet by your deity, and prove it is by the deity and that deity actively works on it today. Or just stop bothering us with your nonsense please.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  3. CJ

    Its almost comic how religions argue with each other. You might as well argue 'who is stronger, superman or thor?'

    March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • barbraS

      Superman, duh!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  4. you have got to be kidding me

    Jordan: Just a reminder: This story is NOT front page CNN. It's the belief blog. If you look at the top of the page, you will see there are multiple religions being discussed as "lead stories".

    This must be a little too close to home for you.

    From my perspective, the Mormons are the ones that brought the attention to their "secret" rituals in the first place.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  5. nk

    No matter what your religion is; if it makes you happy and it is a mechanism for inner peace and to respect for others you should keep your mouth shut. I think mormons are happy people. I just wish they would stop trying to convert me.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • CJ

      Not trying to convert others is a good start. Add to that – stop trying to obstruct scientific teaching in our schools, stop trying to tell us who we can and cannot marry, stop protecting the leaders in your ranks from justice when they predate on children, stop teaching women they are second class, and stop talking about reproduction when 10 million children die each and every year under the age of 5 from lack of food and clean water (World Health Organization). After this checklist is complete, then they can have all of the irrelevant discussions they want.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  6. Man created God in his image

    All religions are silly mumbo jumbo. Grow up, human race!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  7. Johnny Hands

    I'm having a hard time gauging where this proxy baptism thing lies on the religious nutbag scale, from 1 to 10, 10 being the the nutbaggiest. Any thoughts?

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bill

      I don't know, but you're clearly a flat 0 on the scale of tolerance.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Johnny Hands

      I support the first amendment, your right to be a nutbag, my right to call you one.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  8. JJ

    What about celebrities that are baptized, guys like River Phoenix got baptized I am sure his family or his brother Joaquin didn't know about it! Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson will be up soon!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  9. Mittens

    Um, guys, could you tone it down a bit, I am trying to get nominated here.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  10. MarriedtoAtheist

    I told my atheist husband that if he doesn't behave well I am going to baptize him Mormon when He passes away......even for someone who doesn't believe in the afterlife the idea of being baptized from the grave sounded disturbing

    March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  11. Dr.Fritz

    THE MORMONS ARE PROBABLY THE SNEAKIEST AND MOST MANIPULATIVE CULT THERE IS – EXCEPT FOR THE MOONIES AND THE SCIENTOLOGISTS. THEY ARE EVER PR CONSCIOUS, AND HAVE HAVE NO PROBLEM LOOKING OTHERS IN THE EYE AND LYING TO THEM.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • murpis

      What are Moonies?

      March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Johnny Hands

      @murpis, "Moonies" are members of the Unification Church and seriously devoted followers of their second-coming-type leader, Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • murpis

      Thanks. I've never heard of them.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  12. murpis

    Well of course they're going to block her access, she's an ex-member. She shouldn't have had access the moment she was excommunicated.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Dr.Fritz

      Mormonism is a cult, and what's scary is that they've manged to make people afraid to say that. CREEPY.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  13. GaryGuitar

    Mormonism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam...and many others. They are all stories created by man to explain death, tell others how to live and justify psycholigical and physical abuse and killing. Bottom line: Nobody knows what happens when you die, and religion offers a way to avoid giving up life without an explanation. Well, dive into religion as much as you want, but you can't change the fact that all the birds can be flying in the wrong direction.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  14. Rick L

    How is this considered news? This is a feeble attempt to malign Mitt Romney and by publishing it as news CNN is as guilty as whoever wrote this. People in this country have the right to believe as they wish (at least for now).

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • barbraS

      Did you read the article? This has been in the news for a while. The arrogant LDS have been baptizing people that are not of their faith. It has nothing to do with Romney. Romney is doing a good enough job of maligning himself all by himself.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  15. Steff

    Here's an idea: stop the proxy baptism practice all together.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  16. nk

    I'm still looking for the magical tablets.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Dakota2000

      I know I had them someplace!

      You would think that if God had any sense he would have waited until the invention of the Internet and then blog like everyone else.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • JJ

      It is called the New iPad

      March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Tano

    ..We, LDS members do baptisms for the dead because of the hope we have that those who have not had the opportunity to receive these ordinances that through our effort they may also be blessed. It's nothing new, but the LDS Church is the only one that continues this sacred vicarious ordinance. For some of you, you can live your lives oblivious to what others may need, but for LDS members, families are at the center of our belief and happiness. This vicarious work IS NOT an LDS doctrine, it is part of the Gospel preached even before Christ came to earth. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15:28-30&version=NIV Jews may have an issue with it, but should they? Personally, I don't think they do, but the LDS Church respects their desire not to perform these sacred ordinances for those who died in the holocaust, and that's it. I don't see what the problem is. Don't try to ridicule the LDS Church for something that millions of Christians should be aware of, but aren't.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • John

      Tano. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you're wrong. The LDS do baptisms because we believe that God has told us to do them. This is why we simply won't stop doing them until and unless He tells us to stop.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Ralph Steadman

      If they wanted to be Mormons, they would have chosen to be so in their lifetimes, you idiot!

      You are causing distress in the families of the "baptized", who know damn well that they don't want it and the subject would not have wanted it.

      Your religious delusion is blinding you to the fundamental insensitivity of what you are doing. It also blinds you to the absolute freakish absurdity of your beliefs and practices. Mind your own damn business and don't involve non-Mormons in your practices! And keep your dimwit children from pestering me at dinner with your selfish attempts at converting me!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • EvilReligion

      After visiting SLC and having the 'joy' (sarcasm) of meeting many people from the Mormon Cult, it makes complete sense that they would practice such nonsense. Smith duped your forefathers, you lemmings! I'll give you back the golden plate after I finish breaking up my weed on it. This Bud is for you!

      March 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Tano

      @ John, if you are an LDS member, that is to be understood when I said that such practice isn't an LDS specific ritual, but that is PART OF THE GOSPEL. But I may have not been that clear in my explanation, but the reason why we do it is because the hearts of the children will turn to their parents and vice-versa, it is a work of love, not something we pulled out a science fiction book. It is the Gospel of Christ that we follow that helps us understand why we do the things we do. The Gospel of Christ is also common sense, we 're not robots who do things just for the heck of doing them, at least I don't.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • That's bull, John

      God never told you to do that. You are obeying your cult in exactly the same way Scientologists obey theirs, and for the same reason. Joseph Smith wrote a book just like L. Ron Hubbard did, for the same reasons (money and fame), and damn if there isn't always someone stupid enough to believe if.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Tano

      @EvilReligion and @Ralph It would be nice if you could actually put a logical phrase together to make your point without having to recourse to insulting me or anyone else, but that may be too much to ask of you. I'm not asking you to accept what we do, if you do not believe in the teachings of the Bible, then that's OK. You don't have to believe in this. And, we obviously do this primarily for our family members who may have not had the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ. We are obviously not hurting anybody intentionally. I don't see the need to get all upset about this stuff, to the point that you look irrational. Take your anti-depressant, calm down and go watch TV if you find it difficult to deal with a simple posting. No hard feelings from my side, no matter what you say, but thanks for reading the post though.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  18. EddyL

    Keep your cult to yourself!

    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  19. you have got to be kidding me

    Anyone else beside me find it amusing that the Mormons will "crack down" but not outlaw the practice?

    And, anyone else find it interesting that this is only 1 of "some other number" of "temple only" aka secret ceremonies that are performed?

    And the difference between a cult and the LDS church is....What again? Exactly?

    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Dakota2000

      The difference between Mormonism and and Cult is.... they haven't committed mass suicide.... yet...

      March 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • BHS2PSU

      Your ignorance is really unbecoming.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Tano

      ...if the LDS Church asks its members to please not do something and someone, maybe someone pretending to be a member, does it, then it is imperative that the Church tries to resolve that issue so that its promise, in this case to Jews, can be upheld. We are aware of people's reasonable sensitivities. And to answer your question, no, the LDS Church is NOT a cult. Read this scriptural passage in the Bible so you are informed and don't share a point of view that is clearly ignorant on the issue. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15:28-30&version=NIV read it, it is a practice established thousands of years ago for the benefit of families, it is our belief.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      I find it amusing it bothers you.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  20. Jordan

    I can't believe this is on the CNN front page. It seems to me that CNN really likes to target Mormons and their beliefs. CNN can't you find more important issues to put on your main page?

    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • John

      Actually, CNN is targeting Romney in an effort to help this "news" sway voters to re-elect Obama.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Ralph Steadman

      It wouldn't be news if Mormons weren't making such fools of themselves by practicing this freakish ritual and insulting others by doing it.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      It is pretty shameless, isn't it? You'd think the Jews would understand the dangers of singling out and alienating a religious group. I guess "never again" doesn't apply to the rest of us.

      March 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.